Tom Henke’s early retirement might’ve cost him the Hall of Fame

In September 1995, Tom Henke capped a triumphant final season.

Pitching a single season for the Cardinals, near where he grew up in Missouri, Henke notched 36 saves with a 1.82 ERA, winning the Rolaids Relief Man Award. His 1.4 Wins Above Average that year are tied with Mariano Rivera for the fourth-best final season by a reliever in baseball history.

When the Falcons were up 28-3 on the heavily favored Patriots, it felt intoxicating … and yet, not real. The mighty Tom Brady was reduced to a sad meme on his way to breaking Brett Favre’s record for most postseason interceptions.

Then the comeback began — a historic comeback that proved NFL Jerseys Authentic Cheap Lions Jerseys this Super Bowl lied between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. The Falcons wouldn’t run the ball when they were up by eight late in the game. Matt Ryan was sacked and fumbled the ball. Julian Edelman made the kind of improbable catch that had only happened against the Patriots before. The two-point conversion was good. Overtime.

And then we got the ending we knew in the pit of our stomachs was coming all along, leaving us in nightmare hellscape from which we can’t escape. “To Serve Man” is a cookbook. Conrad the Astronaut’s room on Mars is a zoo exhibit. Henry Bemis has all the time in the world for his books … and then his glasses broke.

The Patriots win their fifth title; the Falcons come tantalizingly close, only to let their first-ever Lombardi Trophy slip from their grasp.